Rambo: Last Blood

 

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Home Alone meets Sicario in the fifth instalment of the Rambo franchise.

 
Rambo Last Blood

  

Sylvester Stallone needs a new accountant. Can the actor be so strapped for cash that he needs to make such a schlocky piece of revenge porn? The most cheerful thing about this deeply unpleasant film is its (optimistic) title. It’s obviously something of a vanity project – co-written by Stallone – revealing that, at 73-years-of age, the actor can still weave his arthritic fingers through the shoulder tendons of a man half his age. The 18 certificate is well deserved, although Last Blood should also display warnings for pointlessness, racism and emotional manipulation. And it’s so formulaic that it would make any self-respecting algorithm feel embarrassed.

 

The film, the fifth in the series featuring Sylvester Stallone as the ex-Green Beret wrestling with PTSD, cuts forward eleven years to a sleepy ranch in Arizona. Here, John Rambo channels his energies into training horses, lecturing his adopted niece Gabriela on the ways of the world and, mysteriously, maintaining the network of tunnels that run beneath his property. When Gabriela (the beautiful Yvette Monreal) expresses an interest in confronting the father who abandoned her as a child, Uncle Rambo warns her that her dad has “a black heart” and should best be left alone. Nonetheless, Gabriela is young and foolish and drives to Mexico to find out for herself…

 

When films like Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood and It Chapter Two are undone by their protracted running times, Last Blood feels like it’s missing half its length. We’re given little opportunity to get to know Gabriela before she drives to Mexico in five minutes. Potentially interesting characters come and go with little explanation and even Rambo’s cycle of revenge is frustratingly perfunctory. A montage of a younger Stallone from previous Rambo films and an interminable credits scroll brings the film up to a spartan 89 minutes. On this occasion, more would certainly have proved beneficial, if only to sweeten the taste of retribution – and credibility.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adriana Barraza, Yvette Monreal, Genie Kim, Jessica Madsen, Fenessa Pineda, Joaquín Cosío, Oscar Jaenada, Marco de la O.

 

Dir Adrian Grunberg, Pro Avi Lerner, Kevin King Templeton, Yariv Lerner and Les Weldon, Screenplay Matthew Cirulnick and Sylvester Stallone, Ph Brendan Galvin, Pro Des Franco-Giacomo Carbone, Ed Todd E. Miller and Carsten Kurpanek, Music Brian Tyler, Costumes Cristina Sopeña.

 

Millennium Media/Balboa Productions/Templeton Media-Lionsgate UK.

89 mins. USA. 2019. Rel: 19 September 2019. Cert. 18.